Many of us are dealing with lots of challenges that seem to keep coming relentlessly. Do any of you ever think about Job and what he went through trying to show his allegiance to God when he kept getting attacked by Satan and his demon helpers? (Remember, one third of the angels fell because they had chosen to follow Lucifer instead of God.)
When things keep going wrong in our individual lives, we usually begin to feel very alone and wonder why God is allowing this adversity to chip away at us and our psyche. What we forget is that it is us who is letting it effect our mind and the way we are viewing our personal relationship with God. God never promised us our way would be without adversity when we follow Him. On the contrary, it is usually quite the opposite.
It may not seem like everyone else around you that calls themselves a lover of God is going through hard things, but I beg to differ. What I have found is that everyone I know faces tough things throughout their life journey, some more than others. Nonetheless, all of us face the realities of living in a fallen world.
In today’s society, many simply don’t want to admit all the things they are facing. They decide to put up a good front. If we were simply all very honest about the issues we deal with on a daily basis, we could all relate to each other much better. Perhaps it is Satan’s demons who have convinced us it is better to simply look at our challenges and decide we are taking the high road if we “don’t complain” about our issues.
If we were really taking the “high road” in reality, we’d share our hardships with others in a way that is not complaining, but simply sharing through discussion, so we could all see how God is helping us work through each diversion.
I was watching a rerun of Mother Angelica Classics yesterday and found what she was telling a caller very helpful. This caller had been raped and was currently in an abusive relationship with someone. Mother Angelica asked her to try to give her hostility toward her rapist and the person she was in a relationship with to Jesus. She told her that Jesus had big enough shoulders to handle these people and that He desired that she give this negative emotion to Him as a gift. In other words, Jesus doesn’t want us to harbor negative emotions. They only cause us harm. He asks us to give them to Him so He can deal with them. He asks us to place them at the foot of the cross for Him so we can be freed and thus more fully with Him.
Then, I was watching the mini-series, The Bible. In it, the Mother Mary had just been told by the Archangel Gabriel that she would conceive through the power of the Holy Spirit and have a Son. She was frightened, but accepted God’s will for her. Joseph reacted with negativity at first, thinking initially that she had had relations with another man. It wasn’t until Gabriel came to him in a dream that he realized Mary’s purity and honor at conceiving this particular gift. Joseph’s initial reaction probably scared Mary and made her feel very shunned and humiliated. Nonetheless, she had to keep going.
Then when the actual birth of Jesus took place, both Joseph and Mary encountered great challenges. The weather was cold, possibly rainy, and yet no one had any room for them to stay at what they called an Inn. The King had called for everyone to return to the place of their birth in order to take a census. As a result, the towns were crowded. Everyplace was full.
Did Mary and Joseph complain to God and begin to lose their faith in Him because they faced all this adversity just trying to bring Jesus into this fallen world? I guess none of us will ever know exactly what Mary and Joseph were actually feeling at the time. But I don’t think it would be a far stretch to imagine the confusion they felt at the circumstances surrounding the birth of Christ, our Savior.